Crescent City Comes to the Capital

The third annual City of Trees parade brings Mardi Gras vibes to Sacramento

Back Web Only Mar 19, 2024 By Joe Perfecto

When Old Sacramento was developed as a tourist attraction in the 1960s, the hope was that the European-inspired 19th-century architecture — wrought-iron balconies, detailed facades, plank sidewalks — would draw the same kinds of hordes that flock to New Orleans’ French Quarter. Earlier this month, downtown Sacramento looked a little more like the Big Easy for the City of Trees Parade: one of the biggest Mardi Gras events west of the Mississippi. 

A few brightly costumed performers tower above everyone else.

The 2024 parade took place on March 9 on Capitol Mall, snaking around ticketed festival grounds with alcoholic beverages for adults and food and activities for all. Over 1,500 participants were involved in the parade, which ran twice (at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.) and included the Sacramento State Marching Band, local dance groups and fantastical vehicles custom made for Burning Man. Unlike the 2023 edition, this year’s parade didn’t reach Old Sac, but organizers hope to bring it back soon. 

“Mardi Gras isn’t just about having fun, it’s about honoring who we are and celebrating ourselves,” said Wes Samms, lead organizer of the City of Trees Parade and Mardi Gras Festival, in a press release. “We hope that this event will make people feel proud to live here.” 

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